Tim McQueen’s review published on Letterboxd:
Hard to think of a more singular film than this. The highest grossing film (eventually) of 1968. An obfuscated narrative, where dialogue seems almost deliberately indistinct at points, and the cast intentionally distant and bland (the man’s name is literally Dullea for chrissake).
A good portion of the film, which promises space, concerns missing link apemen. It’s a slow, deliberately paced, gentle film. There’s very little that happens, and yet it covers a heck of a lot. Even other Kubricks feel more conventional than this.
The spectacle of this goes so far beyond anything else from the era. Never has the idea of so much ‘realism’ in a genre like science fiction been so compelling (usually such a tedious approach).
What saves Kubrick’s quote unquote worldbuilding from becoming obnoxious, as it is when so many others obsess over this level of detail, is that it’s all still done in the name of wonder. Kubrick has a deep belief in the power of what really exists, what could one day exist, and what may exist that we don’t yet know about.
But at the end of the day, am I maybe the only person who still prefers Oliver! ?